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State History

A Brief History of Perak



There are several versions as to the origin of Perak.  Some say that the name "PERAK" came from Bendahara Tun Perak of Malacca while some say that it came from the "glimmer of fish in the water" that sparkled like silver, or Perak as it is known in Malay.  Therefore, the mere mention of the state's name will reflect the treasures hidden in its earth.

The Perak State, in actual fact, has been in existence since the prehistoric age.  Kota Tampan in Lenggong is the one and only proof that the Palaeolithic Age existed in Malaya.  The Perak State went through numerous evolutions between 400 000 BC and 8000 BC.  The state had experienced the Hoabinhian Era and the Neolithic Age as well as the Metal Age, which was proven with the findings of relevant ancient artifacts.  Then came the Hindu/Buddha era.  It was thought to have occured simultaneously with the rest of Malaya.

After this period, the history of the state advanced a step further with the formation of minor territories such as Manjung in the Dinding District and Beruas which came into existence after Manjung ceased to exist.  This also apply to a few other territories in the Perak Tengah and Hulu Perak.

It was also then that Islam began to plant its roots firmly in the state.  Historically Perak's history actually began with the installation of Sultan Muzaffar Shah 1, who was a descendent of Sultan Mahmud Shah of Malacca, in the year 1528.  Although the Perak Sultanate had formed the territorial powers were still in effect.  The administrative method was an extension of the democratic feudal system of Malacca.

Perak became more prominent with the discovery of tin in Larut, Taiping in 1848 by Long Jaafar.  With this discovery, Perak's economy boomed and more mining areas were brought into existence.  In addition to tin ore, natural rubber also played an important role and is still being planted after the reign of 33 or 34 consecutive Sultans.  Due to this significant implication of economic development resulted in the birth of a multiracial society especially with the introduction of the Chinese into the mining area.  The British who had long been interested Perak, intervened through the Pangkor Treaty in 1874 after a riot in Larut.  As a result of this intervention, the Residential system was introduced with James W.W Birch as its first Resident.

Initially, the Residential system was supposed to yield positive results.  However, because it deviated from its original cause, compled with the natives' refused to be colonized led to an uprising against the Resident under the leadership of Datuk Maharaja Lela.  As a result J.W.W. Birch was assassinated in 1875.  The Residential system continued until the arrival of the Japanese to Malaya in 1941.  The Perak State also suffered, as did others, during the Japanese occupation of Malaya until the year 1945.  Even after the Japanese surrendered, the British still colonized Malaya until the year 1948.  Violence was rampant then in Perak, due to Communist terrorism.

After the Japanese occupation in Malaya, the Malay States were not stable.  The British did their utmost best to maintain their position by introducing new administration systems such as the Malayan Union in 1946, despite the people's nationalistic spirit to seek independence.   The people of Malaya combined their efforts with all state dignitaries to fully rebel against all British systems.  They continuously oppressed until the British granted Malaya independence in 1957.

The independence of Malaya meant the freedom for all its Federated States, which Perak was a part of rapid development in all fields continued until today, after the reign of 34 consecutive Sultans.



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Last modified: August 31, 2012      Copyright © 2001 - 2012  All Rights Reserved.